Skip to comments.Obamacare contractors: Donít blame us
Posted on 10/23/2013 4:57:27 PM PDT by Sub-Driver
Obamacare contractors: Dont blame us By: Jennifer Haberkorn and Jason Millman and Brett Norman October 23, 2013 05:19 PM EDT
The Obamacare website contractors plan to tell Congress on Thursday that they are not to blame for the massive problems at HealthCare.gov and that they completed successful testing before the Oct. 1 launch.
But, according to prepared testimony, the four contractors ran into unforeseen problems once open enrollment began. The testimony offers a slight glimpse into the problems that made the website all but unworkable and warnings that the problems are far from over.
Lawmakers are expected to press the four contractors for details on what went wrong and when they and the White House knew about it.
The federal exchange underwent eight technical reviews before Oct. 1 and passed, CGI Federal senior vice president Cheryl Campbell plans to tell the House Energy and Commerce Committee. CGI is considered the lead contractors on HealthCare.gov, the federal exchange website.
Unfortunately, in systems this complex with so many concurrent users, it is not unusual to discover problems that need to be addressed once the software goes into a live production environment, she said in her written testimony. This is true regardless of the level of formal end-to-end performance testing no amount of testing within reasonable time limits can adequately replicate a live environment of this nature.
Quality Software Services Inc., another major contractor that built the federal data hub and a key part of the account registration process, said that its contributions to the system are functioning well and, for the most part, have since the launch.
Coding for the data hub was finished in June, tested and the signed off on by CMS in early September...
(Excerpt) Read more at politico.com ...
I want to THANK the contractors.
I couldn’t think of a better way to destroy this Death Star.
“Don’t Blame Us”
Is that the going morale-boosting motto, inspired by the Bam?
Americans used to say: “Can-Do”.
We’ve come to: “Don’t Blame Us”?
Well, he wouldn’t know that.
They knew about it when a failed a test with a couple hundred users.
This is now a TRAP!
There are legal cases with Obamacare, which are now before at least 3 different Courts.
I am concerned that any attempt now, by Democrats, to Delay Obamacare will really be used to fix LEGAL problems with the existing law, and to nullify the Court Cases concerning the Federal Exchange authority to give tax credits and impose penalties.
This is a typical leftist failure: the delusion that human activity can be organized by command, that the organic structure of the markets can be improved by directives, that any set of rules one specifies will actually function has been the defining fantasy of the left since at least Lenin. Instantiating this delusion in software, even backed by massive computing power, does not magically render it realistic.
They lie! People who have looked at the client side java script found a lot of stubs marked “to do” and variables that don’t vary. Everyone is trying to disavow this nightmare.
I’m pretty sure it’s Boosh’s fault!
This software foul-up can be attributed to the Borg:
“Star Trek Lost Episodes” Transcript
(Picard) “Mr. LaForge, have you had any success with your attempts at finding a weakness in the Borg? And Mr. Data, have you been able to access their command pathways?”
(Geordi)”Yes, Captain. In fact, we found the answer by searching through our archives on late Twentieth-century computing technology.”
A bit like ‘Smart Car.’
Apparently, the administration didn't want to finalize any of the decisions for this monstrosity prior to the 2012 election out of fear that the unsavory details would leak out to the public.
BINGO, what they weren't told until late in the GAME, was that there would be a pit-stop, so the regime could capture the users info, for future use..
It is a classic example of Brooks Law
ObamaCare is exhibiting classic symptoms of the Death March:
In project management, a death march is a project where the members feel it is destined to fail and/or requires a stretch of unsustainable overwork. The general feel of the project reflects that of an actual death march because the members of the project are forced to continue the project by their superiors against their better judgment.
The fields whose project management practice first named these related phenomena are software development and software engineering. Other fields have since recognized the same occurrence in their own spheres and have adopted the name.
Death marches of the destined-to-fail type usually are a result of unrealistic or overly optimistic expectations in scheduling, feature scope, or both, and often include lack of appropriate documentation or relevant training and outside expertise that would be needed to do the task successfully. The knowledge of the doomed nature of the project weighs heavily on the psyche of its participants, as if they are helplessly watching themselves and their coworkers being forced to torture themselves and march toward death. Often, the death march will involve desperate attempts to right the course of the project by asking team members to work especially grueling hours (14-hour days, 7-day weeks, etc) or by attempting to "throw (enough) bodies at the problem", often causing burnout.
Often, the discomfort is heightened by the knowledge that "it didn't have to be this way," that is, that if the company wanted to achieve the goal of the project, it could have done so in a successful way if it had been managed competently (such as by devoting the obviously required resources, including bringing all relevant expertise, technology, or applied science to the task rather than just whatever incomplete knowledge a few employees happened to know already). Patent underresourcing is especially offensive at a large corporation with sufficiently deep pockets; at least at small companies, a gap between resources and needs is understandable, but at large, profitable, cash-rich companies, underresourcing is not a necessity and thus feels to most workers like stupidity. Business culture pressures, such as the long-noted phenomenon of corporations pursuing short-term maximization of profits via cost cutting or avoidance that is damaging to long-term best interest, may play a role in addition to mere incompetence.
Among the most infamous death march projects are the Denver Airport baggage handling system and WARSIM, a U.S. Army wargame. The latter project was originally called WARSIM 2000 at its inception in the early 1990s. A decade after its original scheduled delivery date, WARSIM has yet to support a single Army training exercise, but is still being funded, largely to vindicate those who conceived of the system and defended it over the lifetime of its development. The WARSIM schedule slipped many times. Moreover, WARSIM has a clumsy architecture that requires enough servers to fill a small room, while earlier "legacy" wargames run efficiently on a single standard desktop workstation.
The term "death march" in this context was discussed at length in Edward Yourdon's book Death March: The Complete Software Developer's Guide to Surviving 'Mission Impossible' Projects (ISBN 0130146595), which has a second edition simply titled Death March (ISBN 013143635X). Yourdon's definition: "Quite simply, a death march project is one whose 'project parameters' exceed the norm by at least 50 percent." 
Well there we have it. It’s nobodies fault and Obama didn’t know about it.
Is it time for a golf game or maybe an exotic vacation??
” no amount of testing within reasonable time limits can adequately replicate a live environment of this nature.
This is an out-and-out lie.
However, what if they were Republican moles - you know, like the Democratic moles who sabotaged Romney’s data systems (especially around Election Day). In that case, I salute them.
LOL. We are hearing the software version of “The Operation Was A Success But The Patient Died”.
E pluribus it’s not my fault is the new American slogan. Right from the top. But fortunately we have accountability.
"QSSI built the EIDM, which was finished and tested in February and March. But Slavitt said the site, including the EIDM, was overwhelmed by the unexpected rush of traffic. He said that that may not have been as much of an issue except for a late decision to require people to register and account first rather than allow anonymous window shopping. He did not say who made the decision.
Who could possibly have made a stupid decision like that?
Great stuff, IncPen, but none of this matters.
If Obamacare totally crashes and burns, we will be told by everyone except Fox News that the evil Tea Partiers caused it to fail.
If it survives in any form whatsoever, Obamacare will be portrayed by the media as a smashing success.
A free press is to be protected and preserved as one of the basic protections of liberty; a partisan press is to be despised, discounted and, ultimately, destroyed.
My daughter’s car was fine until she tried to start it.
You mean ol' "Cruz Data Associates"? :)
There was a professor at my alma mater who fabricated high efficiency photovoltaic cells that unfortunately were destroyed by light.
Spot on. This has all the hallmarks of a deathmarch project. I actually feel some sympathy for the contractors. I’ve been there. Every meeting with the client... The scope changes... The whole mission changes a couple of times well after development is underway. Then the goalposts keep moving. The original specifications document is long forgotten. They say don’t worry about the money just stay on schedule. That’s when you know it’s time to put on the life jackets and head for the exits. Right as you’re about to do a diving catch at the very end... They yank the ball away one more time just before you land in the end zone.
Until I hear different I’m not going to lay the blame primarily on the contractors. The problem begins and ends with the client.
The site runs on the nginx webserver, THE premier high traffic, highly scalable webserver.
Actually, I have been waiting for them to throw out that very accusation...you know it is coming.
Couple your observations with the fact that the primary objective of ObamaCare was not to 'save' the American healthcare system, but to kill it, and the whole thing is as clear as day.
Should have used some uv/polarized shades.
The System Analyst’s Decalogue
1. Your client does not understand the problem. You must help him gain his understanding.
2. The problem as posed is too specific. You must imbed the specific problem in the next more general question.
3. Your client does not understand the concept of an index of performance. You must help him to weigh the several desired attributes of a particular problem.
4. You are the systems analyst, not the decision maker. You present the weighted evaluations of options. The client makes the decisions.
5. You must present your recommendations to fit the agreed upon time scale and level of generality. Generalization of the client’s problem is a technique for finding and solving the correct specific problem, not for avoiding the issue.
6. A goal-centered approach rather than a technology-centered, time-sequential approach is essential.
7. The disadvantage to the non-user must be included in your weighted evaluation of each candidate system.
8. A universal computer simulation model of a complex system cannot exist. You must postulate a priori those specific questions you wish to simulate.
9. The role of the “decision maker” in a socially relevant, large-scale system is generally unclear. You must expect to engage in building a political consensus if your recommendations are to move to an action phase.
10. A system study that begs the question and has as its major recommendation another study that costs more time and money is a failure. Answer the client’s real question.
I call BS. It was reported that just before the launch, the site crashed with only a few thousand users.
Mmmm, yeah. We’re gonna need you to come in on Sunday, too, mmm, kay?
“He said that that may not have been as much of an issue except for a late decision to require people to register and account first rather than allow anonymous window shopping. He did not say who made the decision.”
An attempt to “carrot” as many as possible to voluntarily walk right in to THE FASCIST CONCENTRATION CAMP, because that’s what it is. As opppose to going “house by house” person by person, and forcing this CONCENTRATION CAMP upon them.
Agreed, in theory. Though in practice the client... -especially- an internal client as my projects always were... Ends up changing the rules mid game over and over and over again.
I’ve never seen a large scale programming project, and I haven’t seen any project of this scale (has anyone?) succeed at the rollout date. I haven’t seen a contracting company say that no, they can’t meet the deadline demanded by the customer. What happens is a POS is delivered, months or years after the deadline, and then being fixed over the subsequent years. Ask Apple about their implementation of the SAP system, the millions thrown away before they gave up.
From my POV there is NO comprehensive functioning INTERFACE.
This is really the SCAM of SCAMS in terms of what came out of the oven.
There’s more to this than a “stupid decision”
Remember that first analyst who was being cited about the problems? The one that said it basically initiated a denial of service attack on itself everytime someone tried to use it? Because using it launched something like 90 data transfers with the clients PC?
What exactly were all those data transfers doing? Sound like they were part of the “register first, then browse” late decision.
If so Republicans MUST determine what data was being transferred? Was it simply the registration data being requested? Would 90 separate process be required to do that?
Or does healthcare.gov go trolling for additional information on the client macine?
Yes, I have.
Both were SAP rollouts. One was for a company I worked for and the implementation process took 7 years total. But hardly a hitch.
The other was ExxonMobile’s implementation. Which I studied and continue to cite as a best practice scenario. Took less than two years, but involved keeping SAP vanilla and being utterly draconian about ANY customization. Where a customization was requested, they really forces the business owners to change themselves to fir the system.
There was a third success at this scale as well, mostly custom build with pen source. 10 year incremental effort, still underway. But still successful.
There were three utter failures as well. All big bang style implementations. One was a disaster of an ERP (PeopleSoft) implementation that helped destroy a 16,000 person company. Another straight custom dev for a very complex business model and the third a hybrid Buy/custom build, also for a very complex model, that tried to integrate 20+ COTS products.
It all really boils down to Gall’s Law,
What you are saying about internal clients is on target but I will suggest a different perspective. Business rules and requirements are usually very stable though many clients see new software as opportunity to add some “frills” they have always wanted. An analyst who doesn’t know the business has a hard time distinguishing between necessities and frills besides not knowing exactly what to ask. The client may also be speaking a different language (engineering vs. accounting for example) and the analyst needs to recognize that and learn the language. The analyst may have to drill down as well to the people who actually do the work instead of just talking to the department head.
I directed the development of a very complex work management system but the most difficult part was the accounting section for invoicing. Without belaboring the details I spent more time with the CFO and two of his assistants than on any other interviews. Before we started a single line of coding, the CFO and I were speaking the same language and I understood exactly what he needed. I was also able to question some of what he wanted pointing out some of the practical and logical flaws, which he agreed to change. In the end, he got what he wanted and for his assistants it worked better than what they had expected.
My point is that rules seldom change, but our understanding of the rules will change unless we put our effort into the work required of an analyst. I was fortunate to have a staff that learned to do that quickly and the payoff was on time and high quality software. Not everyone has a staff like that.
Another Congressional spectacle. Can’t wait!
This is all the way down the line. It’s part of our cultural dryrot right now.
7, 10 year software implementations a success? That speaks for itself. But that’s the perspective of the implementers who continue to milk that cow, and not the customers who have committed to feed that animal and can’t back off. I have seen it too, have seen the cynicism and opportunism of the consultants, have seen good vice presidents of companies fired and replaced by none other than these consultants, and have seen one company go under as a result of the cynicism and opportunism of software sellers.
(finished too early)
... as a result of the cynicism and opportunism of software sellers who committed to delivering in 6 months and took years and years, and never fully delivered and completed.
It is a racket, and the biggest of all companies which produce corporate software has been known for 30 years not for the quality of its products but for the aggressiveness of its sales force.
No matter how this plays out, this is NOT going to look good on the resume’.
“The site runs on the nginx webserver, THE premier high traffic, highly scalable webserver.”
Bad design can bring the most powerful hardware and the most ingeniously efficient software platforms down to their knees, begging for mercy. I don’t care how much money is thrown at it.
We're certain the Obama Regime will tell us that's there was no quid-pro-quo but these shocking new details just add fuel to the fire of the disaster that is known as ObamaCare...
(Daily Caller) President Barack Obama received financial support for his re-election campaign from a senior executive of the firm that built Obamacares dysfunctional healthcare.gov website.
George Schindler President, U.S. and Canada, of CGI Group, the Canadian parent company of U.S. subsidiary, CGI Federal donated $1,000 to Obamas reelection campaign in Aug. 2012, according to OpenSecrets.org.
By that time, CGI Federal had already been awarded the contract to build the exchange for nearly a year, according to a congressional testimony given by CGI Federal senior vice president Cheryl Campbell. ..
Quality Software Services, Inc. Wins $109.93 Million Federal Contract for Medicare and Medicaid Services -
Jun 20 12
Quality Software Services, Inc. Wins $5.26 Million Federal Contract - Jun 7 13
Excerpts and link only due to copyright
I’ve worked on large scale websites with healthcare plan selection. Also time absence management.
Each of the 50 states have different regulations/excuses and these can change every year. There are legal problems if you do NOT have the site operational (and correct) in time for healthcare plan selections (I am referring to annual enrollment PRIOR to Obamacare/HUACA).
As with NASA, “FAILURE IS NOT AN OPTION”.
We met the dates and were correct.
Sounds like there was no budget for testing (site navigation, load testing, etc.) or else upper management didn’t want to hear bad news, or else forced “sign off” signatures knowing they were going public with a faulty system.